Boko Haram released a new video on Tuesday,the highlight of which was the fact that its leader Abubakar Shekau did not even appear in it.
The terrorist group dismissed claims that the military has uprooted them from occupied territories.
The 10-minute video was published online and is the first video which Boko Haram is releasing since February. It however did not feature Shekau prompting speculations that the terrorists’ leader might have been killed by the military or even as a result of infighting within the sect.
The video bore the logo “Islamic State in West Africa” and comes after Shekau in March pledged allegiance in an audio message to the IS group that has overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq.
An unidentified man pictured in front of two-pick up trucks speaks with his face obscured by a headscarf and with an AK-47 rifle resting on his chest.
“Most of our territory is still under our control,” he said, dismissing claims of the coalition’s sweeping victories.
“The armies claim through the media that they captured our towns and that they assaulted Sambisa (forest) and defeated us,” he said, referring to the bushland area Borno that has been an Islamist stronghold.
“I swear by Allah that I am talking right now from Sambisa,” he added, speaking in the Hausa language that is dominant in northern Nigeria with Arabic and English subtitles shown below.
“Here in Sambisa you can travel more than four to five hours under the black flag of Islam by car or by motorbike…
“We are uncountable in Sambisa,” he added, dismissing reports of the insurgents’ defeat as “false propaganda”.
Shekau was not referenced at any point — a major departure from past Boko Haram statements.